The Gupta family decided to expand its newsroom business to accommodate its latest endeavor; a 24-hour news channel. The prominent family owns The New Age newspaper and now, they are the proud owners of the Africa News Network channel which launched last week. The launch of ANN7 comes only a short while after the South African Broadcasting Corporation also decided to make the news available to its audience for 24 hours.
The Africa News Network channel has attracted a lot of attention since its first day but not necessarily for the reasons that they were hoping for. ANN7 has been plagued by an array of communication blunders. A lot of users on Twitter expressed their disbelief at what seems to be a common problem for many of the newsreaders; not being able to read. One Twitter subscriber went as far as saying that there must be a problem with the size of the font used on the teleprompter because it seems highly unlikely that any news channel would proceed with a launch knowing that more than a handful of the presenters cannot read.
The blunders are hard to ignore and some have found their way to YouTube. “ANN7 first massive mistake 21 August 2013” is the most popular of the video clips uploaded on YouTube. In the clip, two presenters seem lost as they battle their way through a sport bulletin with what appears to be a malfunctioning teleprompter. There are several uncomfortable silences which are temporarily forgotten when the voices of people in the background become audible during the bulletin. An unannounced advert finally puts the nervous presenters out of their misery.
Despite these unforgettable blunders, the feedback has not all been negative. Quite a number of people welcome the competition between ANN7 and the 24-hour news channels of SABC and E-TV. Others praised the new channel for job creation and providing another platform for Africans to stay informed about current affairs.
It is encouraging that the Africa News Network is a new kid on the block and with time, vast improvement can be achieved. The staff consists of several known faces who have experience and are committed to making ANN7 the preferred source of local and international news. According to Independent Online, Nazeem Howa, the Chief Executive of The New Age, said: “As a new entrant in the market we expect to make some errors, and we hope to learn from our mistakes as well as get feedback from our viewers.” ANN7 is accessible on DSTV channel 405.